Republicans Are Simply Running Billionaires For Congress

Republicans seem to have just one qualification for Congressional candidates: immense personal wealth.

The ideal Republican candidate is one who can cut themself a big, fat check to self-fund a campaign, overcoming not just the fundraising efforts of Democratic opponents, but the whole need to deal with … the little people.

With Lara Trump converting the Republican National Committee into a means of funneling more money to her father-in-law, closing outreach centers, and laying off dozens of staffers, it’s not as if GOP candidates can count on anyone else to see them through. The Republican Party belongs to Donald Trump, and Republican candidates must ask only what they can do for Trump, not what Trump can do for them.

Democrats feel that self-funded candidates are disadvantaged by the fact that their campaigns don’t have to reach out for support, so they don’t form an early connection with ordinary voters by going door to door, visiting small businesses, speaking to local organizations, and seeking out grass-roots supporters and partners. 

But the Republican base—the real Republican base—isn’t found at the Elks Club or the local bowling alley. They’re in a mansion in Palm Beach, hanging out with Elon Musk and having breakfast with Trump as they plot how to defeat democracy. Wealthy candidates can connect with this base just fine.

As NOTUS reports, Republicans don’t want to deal with democracy. Not even in their primaries. Frustrated by the losing candidates elected by Republican voters in 2022, this time the party elite is “backing financially strong candidates early and eliminating the possibility of opposition.”

The measuring of a Republican candidate’s worth by looking at their bank account isn’t restricted to congressional candidates. Among Trump’s short list of potential vice presidential candidates, one unlikely and obscure candidate keeps rising to the top: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum

But what is it that puts Burgum high on Trump’s list?

“He’s a rich guy with rich friends,” a Republican close to the Trump campaign told The Wall Street Journal. “That goes a long way with Trump.”

The goal of the East Coast gatherings arranged by Musk and fellow billionaire Nelson Peltz isn’t just to provide Trump everything he needs to buy his way back to the White House. Musk’s bigger goal is to make sure that none of his wealthy pals get any ideas about contributing to President Joe Biden or other Democratic candidates. 

There’s no doubt that the world’s current richest man can exert massive influence. Not only has he demonstrated a willingness to undercut his own businesses to funnel resources into his own pocket, while simultaneously demanding a $50 billion dollar bonus, but he’s also willing to drop $44 billion just to satisfy his ego. 

But Musk hasn’t been completely successful, as 54% of Biden’s campaign funds still come from large donations from organizations and individuals. Meanwhile, Trump’s contribution ratio is much more lopsided, with 69% of funds coming from large contributions.

In the past week, Trump has reported a surge in fundraising following his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying documents.

But a closer look at that surge shows that it’s not millions of ordinary MAGA voters opening up their wallets to see what they have left after snapping up Trump bibles or Trump sneakers, but billionaires like Peltz, several of whom have repeated Trump’s false claims about the Justice Department being turned against him.

“There’s a real chance President Trump is convicted of felony charges and sentenced to prison,” wrote venture capitalist Shaun Maguire while cutting Trump a $300,000 check. “Bluntly, that’s part of why I’m supporting him. I believe our justice system is being weaponized against him.”

To some extent, it’s understandable that billionaires would be concerned about Trump’s conviction. After all, as Trump has been telling them, if prosecutors can come after him for falsifying business records, they can come after them too. That has to be a concern for those gathered around the billionaire breakfast table.

Other billionaires are holding fundraisers for Trump’s reelection. Even Trump’s highly covered $50 million record fundraiser was accomplished by just 120 people contributing an average of over $400,000 each. 

But the primary motivator for these billionaires to support Trump is something they aren’t eager to talk about: Biden’s proposed wealth tax, which would prevent the ultra-wealthy from dodging taxes and force them to pay at a rate at least equal to that of a grade-school teacher.

At his big fundraiser, Trump promised that he could extend tax cuts for the wealthy, who are ballooning the deficit at a rate even greater than initially projected. That’s certainly attractive to people who measure their wealth with more than seven numbers. There’s no doubt that “mega-donors” are returning to Trump as they place a fraction of their wealth into his campaign. 

After all, why would the wealthy care if social security collapses? It’s not as if their lives—or the lives of their loved ones—depend on money earned through a lifetime of work.

Potholes in the roads might slow down traffic, and failing railroads might cause them to sniff about supply chains. But then again, they have private jets, so the inconvenience will be minor. They certainly don’t need, or want, government regulations that protect workers, the environment, or fairness in the marketplace. 

What they want is someone who will remove all of their obstacles. Someone who will, like another rising authoritarian 90 years ago, promise to crush labor unions and protect the interest of his donors. 

And in 2024, they have their man.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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